About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

14 November 2014

JPO's 3rd 2014 Season, 2nd Concert: Azerbaijan

For the 2nd and last concert of the season, the JPO had a special concert on the music of Azerbaijan, sponsored by the Azerbaijani Embassy. Earlier this year, the JPO was the orchestra for the Gabala music festival, and the return leg featuring music from Azerbaijan was a good showcase of global music.

Every piece performed was a good departure from the traditional fare. Quite a bit of the music felt like film scores - of a piece trying to tell a tale. The cultural influences of Arabian and Western European musical styles made a great contrast - and was very enjoyable to listen to. I particularly enjoyed the Piano Concerto - which had amazing contrast between the Western and Arabian styles; for both the orchestra and the pianist.

This is the type of concert that the JPO should perform more of. Unfortunately, the marketing seemed to be a let down once again, and the attendance was very poor. A pity - it was a great concert. I would actually go as far as saying, it was one of the best JPO concerts I have been to.

Amirov's Azerbaijan Capriccio
Hajibeyov's Caravan
Amirov & Nazirova's Piano Concerto on Arabian Themes
Ibramimova's Confession for Cello, Piano and Strings
Garayev's Adagio & Waltz from the Seven Beauties Ballet

Conductor: Yalchin Adigezalov
Cellist: Aleksey Miltykh
Pianist: Saida Tagi-Zadeh

09 November 2014

Movie: Interstellar

It is part a movie about extinction - of humans, part a movie about exploration and the bravery of explorers of the unknown; and partly a movie about mysticism and time travel paradoxes. Interstellar is visually stunning, with an amazing cast and script that manages to narrate what survival of the human species beyond Earth might actually mean. 

In a near future, Earth's agriculture is failing, people have died in mass from starvation, and it is clear that the end is nigh. Almost as a last ditch attempt, Matthew McConaughey leads a team to a different galaxy via a mysterious wormhole to try find a new world for humans. Others have gone before to try identify potential worlds - now is the time to pick one so that humanity can continue. The plot, with its twist and turns is amazing (complete with the very well known time travel paradox) - and the only negative I have is the last few scenes before the finale as Matthew's character re-connects with humanity. If it was to be done, it should have been done a lot better. I am not sure if it needed to be done in the first place.

The visuals are spectacular - not only of the strange and alien worlds (much filmed on Earth, not necessarily effects); but also of Earth itself, as it grinds to dust. This is a movie that must be watched on a big screen - the bigger the better. With only two Imax cinemas in South Africa, the choices are limited - but it is certainly worth it.